Ottawa Citizen

Lucent’s strength offsets Alcatel slump


Alcatel reported a big drop in wireless sales yesterday, but the French network equipment maker still enjoyed a big jump in share prices.

The reason was that Lucent, which is to join Alcatel in a $ 13billion U. S. merger, surprised investors with an unusually strong 18- per- cent jump in wireless sales.

Lucent Technologi­es Inc., the phone equipment maker being bought by Alcatel SA, reported a fourth- quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates as sales rose for the first time in a year.

Shares jumped.

In what may be its last earnings report, Lucent’s net income was $ 371 million, or seven cents a share, the company said. Revenue was $ 2.56 billion, a 5.3- per- cent jump.

The unexpected Lucent strength calmed investor fears that the big merger might be a mistake for Alcatel.

Investors were so delighted with the Lucent results that they ignored the weak Alcatel performanc­e.

They also ignored the fact that neither Alcatel nor Lucent provided any guidance for the current quarter, usually a reason for caution.

Alcatel said “ the structure of the ( combined) company will significan­tly change in the coming quarter, therefore we will not be providing company specific guidance.”

of both companies

He also spoke about vulnerabil­ities in Symantec’s intrusion detection system and firewall software that were exposed by his company in 2001 and 2004.

Last month, his company warned of a security hole in McAfee Internet Security Suite 2006 that could allow attackers to run a virus or other malicious program on a person’s computer.

Mr. Maiffret said Microsoft is the world’s 800- pound gorilla, with software running on more than 97 per cent of all computers. As a result, it’s had to become the best at fixing its problems.

“ If you look at Microsoft from a se- curity perspectiv­e, they do more than any other company out there,” he said. “ And, I am a guy who spends a lot of time looking at holes in their security.”

Mr. Maiffret said other companies could learn a lot from Microsoft when it comes to publicly releasing informatio­n about software problems and rushing to provide a fix for its customers.

In the world of Internet security, Mr. Maiffret is a legend. The widely publicized Code Red worm, which was released in 2001, was discovered by Mr. Maiffret and his crew and named for the soft drink they were drinking when they identified it.

In a keynote speech earlier in the day, Gary Doucet, the chief architect with the government of Canada, raised questions on how the world will deal with the influx of informatio­n that is now being captured, stored and distribute­d in electronic form.

“ There is a lot of informatio­n that is about to come into our world as a result of technologi­cal advances,” he said, citing technologi­es such as RFID tags that track and identify goods.

Coupled with the explosion of video and photos that are now finding their way on to the Internet through websites such as MySpace and YouTube, government­s must address issues pertaining to informatio­n security and distributi­on now, he said.

“ It’s a constant challenge,” said Mr. Doucet. “ I wouldn’t say it’s insurmount­able. We have to start dealing with these issues now.”

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